Tuesday, June 27, 2006

My family, the poster children of bike fun...

A friend of ours sent us this link:


We had no idea that this picture was even taken at last year's Bridge Pedal. I wonder if I should ask for free entry into this year's event. Only bummer is that you can't see Simon as he is on the seat behind Megan. You can kind of make out his red helmet behind my arm though...

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Mt Tabor Series - Race #3

Going into the final lap

It was a beautiful Wednesday evening for racing at Portland's Mt Tabor. The format of the race and description is listed in my previous post (Fixed Gear, 4 laps, up and down the mountain). To spice my post up a bit, I wrote a little Haiku to try to describe what the race was all about...

Race Tabor Fixed

Mash up, spin down, can't shift
or breathe

The race itself went great. I tried out a new gear combination (42 x15 vs. 42 x17 from 2 weeks ago). I was a bit nervous about the bigger gear, but it paid off. The bigger gear was definately harder on the climbs, but allowed me to sail down the downhills with out nearly as much 'out of control' spinning. At one point I noted my speed on the computer at 36MPH (which is a pretty fast rate on a fixed gear). In addition, I have been working on my form a bit and decended in my drops (I am more comfortable on the hoods). This made me a bit more aero and seemed to give me more control and speed.

Going into the second lap

Anyway, the combo worked. I placed 2nd in the race tonight, a full 4 places better than I did last time. I lead or was in the lead for most of the race on both the climbs and the descents.

The guy that beat me was a fellow that consistently beat me last year (He didn't race 2 weeks ago). Fortunately, he only beat me by about 2 bike lengths. Last year he beat me by half a lap...

Oh - Top 3 fixed finishers win cash (so for second place, I brought home a bit of money!) Always appreciated!

The best part of Racing at Tabor is that the course goes right by a playground:

My kids - Future bike racers

Sunday, June 11, 2006

of waterfalls

I topped a wonderful weekend (riding bikes with the family to the Grand Floral Parade, celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary) by going on a nice solo ride at Siouxson Creek. The kids were at my inlaws house until the afternoon, so I took advantage of the free afternoon by heading out of town. It was an 80+ degree day, so doing a ride along side a creek was a great idea.

Siouxson Creek is a great ride that is relatively close to town (actually it's over an hour away, but I *thought* it was closer). It's one of those perfect trails that has a little bit of everything - buffed out singletrack, rocky technical areas, a good climb and descent. Plus most of the trail parallels Siouxson Creek and a multitude of waterfalls.

I arrived at the trailhead and got my gear together. I chatted with 3 guys that were also starting out. They were starting at the parking area while my plan was to ride back up the hill for 3 miles to take advantage of the 3 mile down hill prior to starting the 'real trail'.

I raced up the hill and after about 15 -20 minutes of fast climbing I was at the start of the downhill.
The start of the trail
I personally like starting a ride with a climb as it warms up my legs and body prior to hitting the technical stuff. Anyway, I raced down the trail hitting the buffed out corners and jumping as many things as possible. Loving the way the Titus performed. A few minutes later I connected to the main trail and passed a couple of other riders as I continued to zig & zag along the trail.

One of the great things about this trail is how scenic it is. I'm trying to make a point of taking more pictures when I ride - usually I just hammer from point A to B. This trail has so many beautiful waterfalls that you just have to stop.

Waterfall #1

Waterfall #2

Yet another waterfall...

It's almost boring how many falls there are on this trail. Almost

There were quite a few riders out today. Alot of girls out on the trail which was good to see. I think there must have been an organized 'women's ride' of some sorts. Also lots of hikers. Some were friendly, some were cranky. Oh well. I tried to be courteous with 'hellos' and 'thank yous'. Little do most of the hikers know that PUMP actually maintains this trail. I be willing to bet most hikers have never done an ounce of maintenance. Oh well.

I did catch up with the 3 guys from the parking area resting which is funny because they had about a 6 mile headstart on me.

Prerequisite bike picture. Isn't she pretty?

I ended the ride and loaded up the car before heading back into town, but not before trying out my 'dirtworker' which allowed me to get my bike all clean again prior go loading it onto the rack. I'll have a full review of this cool new piece of 'must have' equiptment soon.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pain is weakness leaving the body...

The 2006 Mt. Tabor series began with an exciting start as the fixed gear field kicked the competition off. The Mt. Tabor race series is a Portland institution that goes back over 50 years. It is one of the best and most popular weekly series in the state. It consists of a 1.3 mile technical, hilly, rollercoaster like loop around the upper reservoir of Mt. Tabor Park in SE Portland.

USGS map of Mt. Tabor Park

This park is actually an extinct volcanic cinder cone, a small mountain in the city. Miles of trails and roadways wind through the tall trees and well-maintained landscape. The top of the park (where I proposed to my wife btw) rewards the biker/hiker/etc with breathtaking views of downtown and the West Hills from one side, Mount Hood and the outer Eastside from the other.

I left work at 5:15 and rode the 5 miles from downtown Portland to Mt Tabor arriving at around 5:45 (traffic). The ride there makes a good warmup for the race as most of the way there is uphill.

The course starts & finishes on a straight away that is mid way up the uphill portion of the course.

Just after the start of the race: The pact riding up the first hill

With a bang the fixed gear riders were off. A contingent of about 5-6 riders (including myself) sprinted off the front to get the first climb out of the way before hitting the long downhill with speeds of about 34MPH (really fast on a fixie). At the bottom of the hill the course takes a sharp right hand turn and the riders are 'treated' to about a 1/4 mile straight away that cruises between 2 of the reservoirs before starting the climb back up to the completion of the first lap. At this point I was hanging on to the lead group at about 6th place. The front 2 riders did a breakway and were not seen from again. The next 3 riders followed suite. I tried to hang on and bridge the gap as much as I could. I managed to close the gap in the 3rd lap. Unfortunately my 42 x 17 gearing wasn't enough to keep up on the downhill and straight away and I could not maintain my speed. I ended the 4th & final lap in the 6th place I had maintained the whole race. Not as spectacular as the 2nd and 3rd place finishes last season, however I'm not particularly upset as the field was larger and alot more competitive.

Trying to close the gap

As always, the race was a hoot, but hard as hell (I can't wait until the next 0ne). Unfortunately, I'll be missing next week, but fired up and ready to roll the following.

The start of the final lap... all alone on the climb

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Giving Back

I did my first bit of trail maintenance for the year this past Saturday (June 3rd - National Trails Day). I'd have rather been riding, but once in awhile you need to "give back".

The work was done out at Hagg lake. I helped a team of 15+ PUMP/mtb volunteers put in a combined total of 75 hours of trail time cutting new trail to a new bridge that was being constructed by a kid working on his Eagle Scout badge/certification/whatever (he was also a rider). Basically, we constructed 90 feet of trail. moved two dozen ferns and primed the old trail for quick closure and restoration. In addition, a Kona rep was on hand to let folks demo bikes (including their new road bikes which are hydroformed and pretty sweet). I won a cool t-shirt in the raffle for my efforts. I wish I could have stuck around after for a ride around the lake, but since I brought the family and the kidlets were getting antsy, I felt it best to head on home.

On a side note, Tabor starts tomorrow…